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Monday, April 24, 2017

UPDATES: In The Veins, Goldwater #ICWA lawsuit

www.bluehandbooks.org
In the Veins poetry anthology editor Patricia Busbee (adoptee, Cherokee mix) spoke with Dr. Dawn Karima (who also contributed stunning poetry to this book) about Native poetry and our history recently:

LISTEN:
http://talktainmentradio.com/podcasts/Conversation%20with%20Dawn%20Karima%20042417.mp3

****

Notice of Appeal in Goldwater ICWA Litigation


As they promised they would, Goldwater filed their notice of appeal to the 9th Circuit in the Arizona ICWA class action case.

Here.

Order they are appealing is here.

As always, documents in the case will be housed here.


***LOST CHILDREN  BOOK SERIES

This highly-anticipated collection is part of a history-making book series Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.  This series includes TWO WORLDS (Vol. 1), CALLED HOME: The Road Map (Vol. 2), and STOLEN GENERATIONS: Survivors of the Indian Adoption Projects and 60s Scoop (Vol. 3).  
IN THE VEINS (Vol. 4)  ISBN: 978-0692832646 $9.99, will share part of its proceeds with Standing Rock Water Protectors.
Paperback $9.99   Kindle ebook $3.96

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dawnland: Maine's Stolen Generations

Dawnland Trailer from Upstander Project on Vimeo.

About the film

When most people hear about children ripped from their families, they think of faraway places or of centuries past. The reality is it's been happening in the U.S. for centuries—and is still happening today. Native American children are more than twice as likely as non-Native children to be taken from their families and put into foster care, according to a 2013 study.
Americans should know that these atrocities are not history. 

READ MORE

We mention this documentary in the anthology STOLEN GENERATIONS (see sidebar)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My birth certificate is literally ‘fake news’

Connecticut is the home to many Native adoptees who were transferred and adopted there from Washington state - yes, all the way across the country! That is the Indian Adoption Projects and ARENA in action.


Older birth parents and relatives are dying off, so are some of the adoptees leaving their children and grandchildren with big holes in their personal family health histories.  Adds Caffery, “We feel strongly that time is of the essence. It’s time to end this failed social experiment of secrecy and shame. It’s time to threat us as full citizens of our country and our state.”

Monday, April 17, 2017

Special Needs Adoption

Adoption Fairness Bill: Bipartisan Legislation for Tribal Special Needs Children



Adoption tax credit fairness for tribes: Bill would give parents adopting tribal special needs children an adoption tax credit available to ...
Read More »


Click here to learn more about the bill and Click here to read a letter of support from Chairman Dave Archambault II on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
 

Canada’s Child Welfare Crisis in 2017

Op-Ed in Maclean’s About Canada’s Child Welfare Crisis

Here, by Pam Palmater. Canada’s numbers of Native children in care may be currently worse than pre-ICWA numbers in the United States (Task Force Four Report).
The increasing number of First Nations children being placed into foster care in Canada is nothing short of a crisis. Although Indigenous children make up only seven per cent of the population in Canada, they represent 48 per cent of all children in foster care. It is an astounding number until one examines these rates on a province-by-province basis. In Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Indigenous children represent a shocking 73 per cent, 85 per cent and 87 per cent of all children in care respectively, according to the most recent Statistics Canada report. However, Manitoba reports that their numbers of Indigenous children in care are increasing and currently stands at 90 per cent, which represents one of the highest rates in the world. This isn’t much of a surprise given that one newborn is taken away from his or her mother every day in Manitoba as a matter of course—the vast majority being Indigenous. They are not the only provinces implicated as Indigenous children in Ontario are 168 per cent more likely to be taken into care than white children.

MORE: Prisons are the ‘new residential schools’

Friday, April 14, 2017

the Indigenous Rights Movement in Canada Honored with Top Amnesty Intl Award


Published April 14, 2017

MONTREAL – Celebrated global music artist and activist Alicia Keys and the inspirational movement of Indigenous Peoples fighting for their rights in Canada have been honored with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2017, the human rights organization announced today.
The award will be officially presented at a ceremony in Montréal, Canada, on May 27.
Accepting the award recognizing the Indigenous rights movement of Canada will be six individuals representing the strength and diversity of the movement, which has bravely fought to end discrimination and ensure the safety and well-being of Indigenous families and communities. They are Cindy Blackstock, Delilah Saunders, Melanie Morrison, Senator Murray Sinclair, Melissa Mollen Dupuis and Widia Larivière.

Cindy Blackstock hopes that the award will help to focus global attention on the injustices still prevalent in Canada today.
As head of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, she led a decade-long legal battle against the underfunding of social services for First Nations children. In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued a landmark ruling calling on the federal government to take immediate action to end its discriminatory practices.
However, the Canadian government has continued to drag its feet in fully complying with the ruling, meaning that First Nations children are still suffering discrimination.
“The conscience of the people is awakening to the Canadian government’s ongoing racial discrimination towards First Nations children and their families,” said Cindy Blackstock. “Now the question is: What are we going to do about it? Are we going to allow Canada to celebrate its 150th birthday while it bathes in racism, or will we speak up and demand the discrimination stops?”


READ: Alicia Keys and the Indigenous Rights Movement in Canada Honored with Top Amnesty Intl Award - Native News Online

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Rights of an Indian Child

The Rights of Indian Children ABA Article


The tribe I worked for decided to “bring the children home” through a focus on children in their community and ensuring resources to support that work. Many strategies were employed, depending on case specifics. Ensuring the tribal children were closer to home, both in proximity and culturally, was the goal. Some cases achieved the goal through reunification with the natural parents, others by placement within kinship care from stranger foster care. One of the primary practices was the transfer of cases to tribal court when the parents were amenable. In the end we brought all but one child back into tribal custody with an over 75 percent kinship placement rate.



AND 2017 ICWA OFFICERS (27 page pdf)


Print them out and use them PLEASE:
2017-Designated Agents for ICWA Service

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Darker Agenda: Is the adoption industry looking to monetize our children or worse #goldwater

A Right-Wing Think Tank Is Trying to Bring Down the Indian Child Welfare Act. Why? | The Nation

Here.
 ...A ruling in Goldwater’s favor, according to Fort and other legal experts, could undermine the authority of tribal courts, shutter tribal casinos, and open up reservations to privatization, something that could benefit oil and gas developers like the Koch brothers. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Indian School Road

In Indian School Road, journalist Chris Benjamin tackles the controversial and tragic history of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School, its predecessors, and its lasting effects, giving voice to multiple perspectives for the first time. Benjamin integrates research, interviews, and testimonies to guide readers through the varied experiences of students, principals, and teachers over the school’s nearly forty years of operation (1930–1967) and beyond. Exposing the raw wounds of Truth and Reconciliation as well as the struggle for an inclusive Mi’kmaw education system, Indian School Road is a comprehensive and compassionate narrative history of the school that uneducated hundreds of Aboriginal children.
Source: Indian School Road

Monday, April 3, 2017

Reconciliation Pole installed on UBC Vancouver campus

Reconciliation Pole at UBC nails the past to confront harsh reality of residential schools

NATIONAL

 
Reconciliation Pole at UBC nails the past to confront harsh reality of residential schools
One of the most distinctive parts of Reconciliation Pole are the copper nails. It has 68,000 of them pounded flat into the surface. Each one represents an indigenous child who died at residential schools across the country, said Haida artist James Hart, who was commissioned to design and carve the totem pole.  Click here to read more ...

Today's Book of Poetry: Burning In This Midnight Dream - Louise Bernice ...



Louise Bernice Halfe Sky Dancer has published a third volume of poetry, Burning In This Midnight Dream, and it is a burning indictment, a hushed prayer, an angry account.  Burning In This Midnight Dream articulates some of Canada's worst history from the inside looking out.  

These poems are an insider's nightmare memories of Canada's residential schools.

Halfe/Sky Dancer is a quiet poet of considerable reserve yet these poems rumble with thunderous revelations that reverberate off of the page, run up your arms and attack your guilty heart.
nipin nikamowin - summer song

I listened to outrageous laughter
there by the stone-carving shelter
where children painted and listened
to Alex Janvier.
Year after year
on the grounds of Blue Quills
I shared a tent with a friend and we told stories
of those lonely nights and how we preserved
our broken Cree.
I walked, ran, skipped
swore and sang the fourteen miles
from that school all the way to Saddle Lake.
We were told by our guide to meditate, be silent
in our walk. How could we after our voices
where lost in the classrooms of that school?
When I reached my home reserve
the Old Ones received me
and danced me on my blistered feet.
Water, tea, fruit, bannock and deer stew.
What food would heal this wound
bundled against my back?
A child still crying in those long school nights.
I know of a man who still carries his suitcase,
began at six, now sixty years, carrying
those little treasures of home
that was forever gone.
...
Burning In This Midnight Dream is a peat fire of poetry.  You don't see any flames on the surface but you know for certain that you are on hot footing and that all is ablaze underneath, smoldering and determined.

Halfe/Sky Dancer has included several family photos along with the text and this case is the exception that proves the rule about photos and poetry.  These photos are necessary.  The poems work just fine on their own, they are all strong, exude the strength of a brave survivor, but these photos make the stories blood, flesh and bone.  We see the young children in a new and different context, we see them as clearly as the "boy in the striped pajamas," the red-coated lost girl in the opening frames of Steven Spielberg's Shindler's List.  The fine and perfect faces in these photos are calling out through these poems.
Residential School Alumni

An uncle shot his wife
left her lying behind the house
with the rifle at her side.
Their four children peered
behind the curtains.
He was never able to look at anyone.
A lake held him as he froze, standing,
clutching his traps.
One son joined the marines
a mosquito killed him in Vietnam.
In a police chase another son
hit a slough and drowned in his grave.
Their little brother slept in a flaming
house with needles, spoons, heroin and cocaine.
My cousin was left alone.
I remember them.
...
Our morning read here in the Today's book of poetry offices was a little more sombre than usual but that's not to say we didn't enjoy the poems.  We certainly respected them.
Louise Bernice Halfe Sky Dancer wants the Truth and Reconciliation process to succeed.  Burning In This Midnight Dream is an honourable attempt to plow as much truth into the open as the open can bear.

Friday, March 31, 2017

NICWA Conference largest conference on record

Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians Provides Host Sponsorship of NICWA Conference

Published March 31, 2017

PORTLAND, OREGON — The National Indian Child Welfare Association received a $20,000 host sponsorship from the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians for this year’s 35th Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, to be held at Harrah’s Resort Southern California, a facility owned by the Tribe, in Valley Center, California.

This year’s sponsorship by the Tribe will help NICWA bring a wide range of workshops and relationship building opportunities for child welfare workers, tribal leaders, and ICWA advocates from all across Indian Country and maintain the conference as the premier national gathering to discuss best practices in Indian child welfare.

Established in 1875, the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians traces its Southern California ancestry back 10,000 years, and the tribal council governs 500 members with jurisdiction over a 6,000 acre reservation in Valley Center, California. Rincon uses profits from its commercial enterprises located on reservation to fund government services and economic diversification on behalf of the reservation and Rincon people. Engaged in an economic partnership with neighboring communities, the Rincon Band shares its good fortune with North County San Diego, through tribal government donations to worthy causes that contribute to the welfare and health of the region, including NICWA’s annual conference.

When reflecting on the Tribe’s sponsorship for the annual conference, Rincon tribal chairman Bo Mazzetti remarked, “Native people have a unique task of overcoming the past and the sobering statistics that haunt reservations. We must find ways to treat the trauma, health, mental, and social problems that pass from one generation to another. We must give our children love, mentoring, and positive examples. We must educate all of our families on how to raise healthy, resilient children. It behooves each and every individual to take responsibility for creating a world where our children are loved, where their needs are met, and where they are valued for their unique strengths and gifts.”

NICWA executive director Sarah Kastelic noted, “We are truly grateful to the Rincon tribal government and people. NICWA’s annual conference is only possible with the generous contributions of sponsors. With Rincon’s support and partnership, 2017 will be NICWA’s largest conference on record. More than 1,100 people have pre-registered to participate in this incredible training and networking opportunity that builds the knowledge and skill set of service providers and leaders working to protect Native children and keep Native families together.”

Monday, March 27, 2017

Manitoba child welfare agency in ‘chaos’


...children put at risk following political intervention



 

A Manitoba child welfare agency serving some of the poorest First Nations in the country is in “chaos” following the political intervention of chiefs who forced the temporary suspension of its executive director, according to an internal source.

The source, who is not authorized to speak publicly, said there is growing concern the actions by the four chiefs of the Island Lake Tribal Council to temporarily push aside the Island Lake First Nations Family Services agency’s executive director, Brenda Wood, has put children at risk.

“I knock on wood every day so nothing happens. And if something happens, who is it on?” said the source. “Is it on us and our negligence?”

In mid-February, three of the four Island Lake Tribal Council Chiefs—Garden Hill First Nation Chief Dino Flett, Red Sucker Lake Chief Sam Knott, and St. Theresa Point Chief David McDougall—sent a letter to the Island Lake Family Services board directing them to place Wood on temporary paid leave and complete a report on her “management style.” Tribal Council Chair and Wasagamack Chief Alex McDougall did not sign the letter but supported the move.

The board, which is appointed by the chief and council of each of the four communities, immediately complied despite supporting Wood’s efforts to reform the agency. Wood was put on temporary leave and the board took over management of the agency.

Now the agency is in complete turmoil, according to the source.

“It is really chaotic over there right now and it has been ever since (Wood) left,” said the source. “There is a lot of confusion, a lack of direction.”

Wood only became executive director of the agency in 2015 and faced a monumental challenge. The agency, which serves a region afflicted by the legacy of residential schools and deep poverty, has repeatedly been found by provincial and federal reviews of failing to provide a proper standard of child welfare care.

“She inherited a big mess,” said the source. “I have seen how this place was run before, when everybody did what they wanted. It didn’t seem like there was a lot of accountability…. This is why the new executive director does what she does. She understands the severity. People need to pull up their boots straps or get out of the way and let somebody else who is willing to do their jobs, do their jobs.”

The agency is overseen by the First Nations of Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority—also known as the Northern Authority which said last week it was monitoring the situation.

A spokesperson for the Northern Agency said there were ongoing and direct consultations with the Island Lake First Nations Family Services agency. The spokesperson said a development on those consultations could be announced within days.

The source said the chiefs moved against Wood because her efforts to reform the agency led to the termination of several people, including two who were politically connected. The source said Wood had also not been given the opportunity to defend herself against the allegations related to her management style.

“There is a real witch hunt out there for her, they just want her gone,” said the source. “The real unfortunate thing about this too is that she never had the opportunity to communicate any of this.”
Wood was trying to slowly reform the agency, said the source. One of her main accomplishments since taking on the job was increasing special needs assessments for children at risk in the four communities—the agency also has a sub-office in Winnipeg.

“In the north, almost no kids had special needs assessments and those assessments were not getting done,” said the source. “Just before she was placed on leave, there was actually a person put there to specifically do special needs assessment.”

Wood was also trying to create a program to put parents and their children out on the land to do traditional activities and bond. She also assigned an employee to work specifically on the project.
“I know she was really pushing hard to have this up and going quickly—not in 10 years—she wanted this done properly and she wanted it done quickly,” said the source. “I think the overall picture is children and their parents would go there, there would be workers there. For example, it’s a good opportunity for a father and his children to bond…. A lot would be about re-exploring the role of family members. I think that has been really lost, one of the effects of colonization.”

Follow: jbarrera@aptn.ca


Friday, March 24, 2017

Who's Your Daddy?

Possibly the cruellest reality show ever committed to tape, Who’s Your Daddy? began as a six-part series in which a woman was put into a room with 25 older men and asked to guess which of them was her real estranged biological father. If she guessed correctly, she won $100,000. If she didn’t, the actor she picked as her father would win the money. To underline how monstrous this is, look at the video below. A tearful woman asks a man why he gave her up. He cries, tells her that she was conceived in a moment of love and confesses that not a day has passed where he hasn’t thought of her. Except that man is an actor. He’s the one who uploaded the video to YouTube, along with the description: “My performance on this Fox Reality series almost won me $100,000.” Gruesome. So gruesome, in fact, that Fox pulled five of the six episodes before they’d aired.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Levi EagleFeather: "The Power of Peaceful Resistance" | Talks at Google



Use the search bar for more on Levi Eagle Feather on this blog.  He has chapters in the book STOLEN GENERATIONS and CALLED HOME, in the Lost Children book series.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Called Home: Read excerpts



Last October we republished this book.

 [2nd Ed.] An important contribution to American Indian history told by its own lost children/adult survivors, American Indian and First Nations adoptees and family... Editors Patricia Busbee and Trace L. Hentz are writers and adoptees who reunited with their own lost relatives. From recent news about Baby Veronica, Canada’s 60s Scoop, and history such as Operation Papoose, this book examines how Native American adoptees and their families experienced adoption and were exposed to the genocidal policies of governments who created Indian adoption projects. "Adoptees do need a road map and that is what other adoptees have created," Hentz said about this anthology and book series. The second anthology in the Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects Book Series is published by Blue Hand Books in Massachusetts. CALLED HOME offers even more revelations of this hidden history of Indian child removals in North America, their impact on Indian Country and how it impacts the adoptee and their entire family. “We have created a body of work, a roadmap for adoptees coming after us. Governments stole the land and stole children. It’s time the world know,” Hentz said.

In the chapter ROADMAP: DNA and ICWA, we explain how to use ICWA to open your adoption file in the courts. BUY NOW

Sarah Kastelic: Enforcing the Indian Child Welfare Act to Protect Native...

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Goldwater Litigation on the Constitutionality of ICWA Dismissed Without Prejudice #StrongIndianFamilies


This is the attempted class action litigation claiming ICWA violated the Constitution.
This is a big win for ICWA and the legal advocates who worked on this case at the state, federal, and tribal levels.

Here is the Order.
The legal questions Plaintiffs wish to adjudicate here in advance of injury to themselves will be automatically remediable for anyone actually injured. The very allegations of wrongfulness are that such injuries will arise in state court child custody proceedings, directly in the court processes or in actions taken by state officers under the control and direction of judges in those proceedings. Any true injury to any child or interested adult can be addressed in the state court proceeding itself, based on actual facts before the court, not on hypothetical concerns. If any Plaintiffs encounter future real harm in their own proceedings, the judge in their own case can discern the rules of decision. They do not have standing to have this Court pre-adjudicate for state court judges how to rule on facts that may arise and that may be governed by statutes or guidelines that this Court may think invalid.
Here is the joint press release from the ICWA Defense Project.

The ICWA Defense Project is a coalition of NICWA, NARF, NCAI, and the ICWA Appellate Project to provide assistance and updates to tribes and other interested partners on the federal challenges to ICWA.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Forum: Education continues on Wabanaki plight #ICWA

Forum: Education continues on Wabanaki plight:

LEWISTON — In 2015, a report focusing on Maine Wabanaki children and decades of discriminatory practices in the child welfare system was meant to spark changes and begin the healing process for the state's native tribes.

For Wabanakis and members of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, a group tasked with implementing the report's recommendations, that process is far from over.

Speaking during a Great Falls Forum in Lewiston on Thursday, Maine Wabanaki REACH Community Organizers Barbara Kates and Tom Reynolds underlined the importance of the work that had been accomplished but said more outreach and more education is needed.

The pair led a presentation titled “Truth, Healing and Change: Why Maine Needed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” which refers to the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in 2013. 

The commission was charged with taking an intimate look at the causes behind the "disproportionate removal" from families of Native American children who were put into the child welfare system.
Among the biggest takeaways from its report was that Native American children in Maine were five times as likely to be placed in foster care as non-native children; Wabanaki children's native ancestry is often not identified during intake procedures; and the presence of institutional racism in state systems and the public.

The commission, made up of native and non-native members, was regarded as the first of its kind in the United States.

Since then, Kates said, the work of REACH, which stands for Reconciliation-Engagement-Advocacy-Change-Healing, has been, now that the truth is known, "What do we do now?"
A snippet from an upcoming full-length documentary detailing the emotional commission process was screened during Thursday's event, held at the Lewiston Public Library.

In compiling the report, the commission collected more than 150 statements from Wabanaki survivors, their families, foster families and employees of the state child welfare system.
In one such statement, a woman recalls being taken from her family for no reason, and as an adult, still didn't know why. Another remembered sitting in bleach with her sister while in foster care, "trying to convince each other that we were getting white."

REACH began as a collaboration of state and tribal child welfare workers who knew from their work together that major inequities existed in the way the state dealt with family issues within native communities.

Since the release of the report, REACH is still scheduling speaking events to educate Mainers on the history of the Wabanaki and native children, which have experienced forced assimilation dating back to the 1800s.

Kates and Reynolds provided a brief historical overview, including why Maine became a focal point on child welfare. During the 1950s and 1960s, national child welfare practices encouraged removing Native Americans from their communities and placing them in foster care. Boarding schools designed to assimilate Native Americans were also still prevalent.

According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, the Indian Child Welfare Act, adopted in 1978, "marked one step toward upholding tribal rights, but effective implementation was another, and many states, including Maine, struggled with that process in the years after the law’s passage."
The act was meant to prioritize keeping Native American children in their homes within their tribal communities.

Reynolds said Maine was pressed by the federal government in the early 1990s to boost compliance with the act because of numbers that were still high, and was still struggling with it well into the 2000s.

"They kept finding that they were hitting their heads against a brick wall," he said, referring to continued issues leading up to the commission. "They realized they needed to dig deeper," he said.
Questions from the audience Thursday hit on education and what's next. Kates was asked whether local schools are adding the correct Wabanaki history into their curriculums.

Kates said no other state has yet to conduct a similar truth and reconciliation commission.
Penthea Burns, co-director of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, was originally scheduled to speak during the forum but had a conflict, Kates said.

Joe Hall, an associate professor of history at Bates College, introduced the speakers. 
Hall said Thursday's discussion was timely because school budgets are being drafted statewide.
"We get the opportunity to think about how we raise our children, which is not something that Wabanakis have always had the luxury of," he said. 

Kates has been involved with designing and delivering community presentations and ally-building workshops to increase understanding of Maine's shared history with the Wabanaki people.

Kates said that as a child welfare worker, it has been a "steep learning curve" in recognizing the complicated Wabanaki history. The commission found that there is still resistance to the idea that native people continue to experience "cultural genocide."

She said work to implement the recommendations from the study is ongoing. Those recommendations include the development of new trainings for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, as well as legal and judicial offices, a policy to monitor compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act and better support for foster and adoptive families.

The work of the commission, she said, opened the door for changes.

"It's the idea that we're here now," she said. "What do we do now?"

arice@sunjournal.com

Sacred Water: Standing Rock Part I - RISE (Full Episode)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Oglala Sioux Tribe members form children's advocacy group

South Dakota legalizes religious-based discrimination in adoptions, Oglala Sioux Tribe members form children's advocacy group

South Dakota’s SB 149 did explicitly mention ‘due regard’ for the Indian Child Welfare Act. The state has a history of removing Native youth from their cultural contexts, a practice that was aided by Christian boarding schools with forced ‘assimilation’ programs. Lakota families in particular experienced high rates of involuntary separation.
When two severely malnourished and abused girls were found on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation last November, community members near and far gathered to take action on the tribe’s own terms. As Jim Kent reports, the newly-formed “Embracing Our Children’s Health” group focuses on empowering, encouraging, assisting, and supporting existing programs and organizations for children and their families on the reservation.
Download Audio
The Pine Ridge Reservation is located along the border between South Dakota and Nebraska. It’s home to members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, also known as the Lakota.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Four Days of Protest


American Indians Protesting Trump, Pipeline with March

Gathering in Washington for Four Days of Protest


ABC News |
BISMARCK, N.D.  - The Associated Press reported American Indians from around the country are gathering in Washington for four days of protest against the Trump administration and the Dakota Access pipeline that will culminate with a Friday march on the White House.
Starting Tuesday, tribal members and supporters plan to camp each day on the National Mall, with teepees, a ceremonial fire, cultural workshops, and speakers.
On Friday, a 2-mile march is planned to the White House, where a rally is scheduled.
Sioux tribes oppose the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois. Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners expects to have oil flowing this month, after getting the green light for final construction from the Trump administration last month. Sioux tribes are fighting the project in court.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

#60s Scoop Letters to First Nations leaders and Canadian Ministers



Letter to AFN request to meet 60s Scoop adoptees

by Indigenous Adoptees
 

February 19 2017
 
 
National Chief Perry Bellegarde
Assembly of First Nations
55 Metcalfe Street
Suite 1600
Ottawa, ON K1P 6L5
 
Dear National Chief,
 
Thank you for your recent statement “Children of the Sixties Scoop deserve justice, healing and reconciliation” on February 14, 2017. The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (NISCWN) formerly known as BiGiwen Indigenous Adoptee Gathering, began our work in earnest in 2014 in Ottawa, ON. Led by a few local Sixties Scoop adoptees, our goal was to bring adoptees together to share our stories, validate each other’s experiences, and work towards healing grounded in our Indigenous traditions. Our first gathering was a resounding success as 65 adoptees came together in Ottawa from all over Turtle Island to build capacity, share stories, and begin the long process of healing inter-generational wounds and trauma.  In August 2015 we held our 2nd gathering for Sixties Scoop adoptees, foster care survivors, and their families. With the help of trusted Elders and community facilitators, we utilized land-based ceremonies to lead the healing work. At that time we reached out to AFN for support but your office could not accommodate us but thank you for offering. Our 3rd gathering is planned for fall 2017.

The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (“the Network”) is writing this letter to request a meeting with you in light of the recent judicial decision on the Ontario class-action lawsuit on behalf of Sixties Scoop adoptees. Also, given Minister Bennett’s statement on her willingness to engage in negotiations with adoptees, a meeting would be especially timely. During the meeting we would like to discuss and brief you on our work, how the Sixties Scoop has impacted our lives, the work that needs to be done across Turtle Island for healing and reconciliation, and ways that NGO's Chiefs, and advisors can provided necessary support and expertise.

The Network is unique, as it's the only community-based adoptee-led organization working with Sixties Scoop adoptees & foster care survivors. We're intimately connected to hundreds of adoptees across Canada, the US, and overseas. Urban and rural First Nations, Metis and Inuit adoptees & foster care survivors who have reached out to us over the years for support, advocacy, resources and friendship. One common heartbreak and concern we hear from adoptees who've been taken away from their communities is that our Chiefs and First Nation communities have not supported our repatriations nor welcomed us back into the circle. 

Our central concern in working towards a national resolution to ongoing litigation is that all impacted adoptees and foster care survivors are not just included, but centred and prioritized, in any discussions about their cultural losses and in strategizing ways forward. It's vital that our voices are heard since it's the survivors who know the impacts of the Sixties Scoop the best because we speak to it from our lived experiences. 
Although the Ontario class-action lawsuit judgement is one small victory, thousands of adoptees and foster care survivors are once again emotionally triggered by these announcements with reverberations being felt across the nation and beyond. Survivors do not want to be excluded from conversations about us, and together with the Assembly of First Nations the Network wants to ensure that all our voices are represented at the negotiation table, while we continue the critical work of raising awareness about the Sixties Scoop nationally and internationally.
 
We look forward to hearing from you,
 
Colleen Hele- Cardinal, Duane Morrisseau-Beck, Elaine Kicknosway
Directors
 
Backgrounder on National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network
 
The NISCWN, was formed in September 2016, as a national voice to (a) Provide a national forum for the members of the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network to express their needs and concerns on behalf of Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada; (b) Ensure access to services for Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada; and (c) Provide relevant, accurate and up-to-date information to Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada. For more information on who we are and what we do, go to www.indigenousadoptee.com.

SEE MORE LETTERS at their above website. 

Use the search bar on this blog for many more stories about the 60s Scoop survivors.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Grandma Regina Among 47 Arrested at Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock: "This is a Fight for Survival."




1973 Wounded Knee veteran Regina Brave arrested yesterday standing up for Standing Rock
Published February 24, 2017



CANNON BALL, NORTH DAKOTA – Regina Brave, affectionately known to many as “Grandma Regina,” was among those arrested on Thursday as the militarized police swept the Oceti Sakowin
encampment of occupants. Since the 2pm evacuation deadline on Wednesday, there have been 47 arrests made according to the Morton County Sheriff Department.

KEEP READING



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

South Dakota again? ACLU Fight for #ICWA

Stephen Pevar: “In South Dakota, Officials Defied a Federal Judge and Took Indian Kids Away From Their Parents in Rigged Proceedings”

Here, from ACLU’s Speak Freely blog.

"We will not stand idly by" #ICWA

Petition Granted: Gila River Indian Community Will Argue before Arizona Supreme Court to Protect Indian Children


Gila River Governor Stephen R. Lewis


SACATON, ARIZONA – The Arizona Supreme Court has granted the petition for review filed by attorneys for the Gila River Indian Community, giving the Community the opportunity to argue before the state’s highest court in a controversial case involving the future of a Native American child at risk of being permanently removed from her Community.

The case will be the first of its kind argued before the Arizona Supreme Court focused on the transfer provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act. At its heart are determinations regarding the permanent custody of a Native American child, A.D., a 2-year-old born to a Gila River Indian Community mother who lived on the Gila River Indian Reservation for most of her life. After A.D.’s off-Reservation birth, she was placed into the State of Arizona foster care system. The Community sought transfer of the state court case to its Children’s Court under the Indian Child Welfare Act, but its motion was denied and the Community appealed.

In their petition to the state Supreme Court, attorneys for the Community argue that A.D.’s case is significant to Arizona’s Indian tribes and tribal families and that the Arizona Court of Appeals’ decision was contrary to the plain language of the Indian Child Welfare Act and would lead to “absurd and inconsistent results.”
“The Gila River Indian Community will do everything in our power to protect our Community members and their families, every Indian child and every Indian family,” said Gila River Governor. Stephen R. Lewis. “We will not stand idly by when our children are at risk of losing their tribal roots, their culture and their families, and when the Indian Child Welfare Act is at risk.”
“Since 1978, ICWA and the tribal court system have worked as intended to keep Indian families together. This landmark law should not be stripped of its key role in protecting our people.”
Attorneys for the Community and the State have 20 days to file supplemental briefs with the state Supreme Court, then the matter will be set for oral arguments.

Beauty Without Boundaries

Posted by Native Hope on Feb 16, 2017 
We are all examples of true beauty, yet we live in a culture that tells us differently. The society of today does everything it can to put us in a box, doing its best to contort us into its shallow definition of "ideal beauty." These unrealistic standards are completely one-dimensional, and they fail to encompass the wide variety of beauty that abounds in the human race.


Living in two worlds
American Indians often discuss the struggle of trying to live and thrive in two worlds: the world of their culture and ancestors and the one of a modern day civilization that is a melting pot of ideals, customs, and beliefs. When Indigenous people embrace their physical beauty and inner uniqueness, the conflict between these two worlds becomes even more apparent.

In a recent article titled "She's So Pale" that was posted on Native Appropriations, Adrienne Keene, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, discusses the stereotypes that so often bombard Native Americans. She explains how so many people “think that Native identity is tied to looking like something off the side of a football helmet...they want to be able to categorize and move on. But Native identity isn’t just a racialized identity. Native identity is political. We are citizens of tribal nations. So we can’t just talk about our identities purely in racial terminology. There’s also a deep power issue here—who has the 'right,' especially as an outsider, to determine someone’s identity for them?”
qgroom.jpgAdrienne’s pale complexion has caused many to cast judgment and challenge her Native heritage. This fact alone exemplifies the danger of trusting our eyes to be the only valid source of truth. She is determined to make a difference and expose these obvious misconceptions, stating “instead of feeling ashamed, I’m trying now to turn the tables and think that I, instead, am the colonizer’s worst nightmare. Because history has tried to eradicate my people by violence and force, enacted every assimilating and acculturating policy against my ancestors, let me grow up in white suburbia, and erased all the visual vestiges of heritage from my face–but still tsi tsalagi (I am Cherokee)....fighting back against misrepresentations, through a keyboard and the internet.” 

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Giving Voice to Adoptees


Dear Adoption, Do You Still Think You Own Me? I am the faceless girl—the head-banger from crib 22, biting her own wrists for hours on end, as she sat in a diaper overloaded with day-old shit. “Fail…
READ: Dear Adoption, Do You Still Think You Own Me?


Dear Adoption, You Aren’t Always Right Growing up, my adoption issues lived mostly in the confines of my own head. I was adopted domestically so most people had no clue my parents, siblings a…
READ: Dear Adoption, You Aren’t Always Right




Why does it take us adoptees years to see the injustice of this? What medically happens when we are taken from our mothers at birth – what cruelty is this for a newborn – how is it ever acceptable to do this to another human being? I do know. I was adopted.  ...Trace, Blog Editor

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Stolen Generations: Cultural impact of the Indian Adoption Project still felt today

  1. Listen The stolen childhoods of post-WWII Native children

    Feb 9, 2017
Kip Moon as a child
Kip Moon as a child 
In 1958 the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) created the Indian Adoption Project. Its clear goal was to take Native kids away from their biological parents.

That's according to Melissa Olson, a legal advocate for Native children.

"This was not an accident of history, it was a government program designed to save the government money and dismantle tribes. All under the guise of integrating Native children more fully into American society," Olson said in a documentary she produced exploring the cultural and historical impacts of forced adoption, titled "Stolen Childhoods."

When the BIA started the project it enlisted social workers to visit reservations and convince parents to sign away their parental rights. It was a way to assimilate these children into "civilization," Olson said. The government believed adoption was the best option for dealing with the Native children "problem."

"When you removed a child and put them in a non-Indian family, they wouldn't be getting to know other Indian people as they would in a boarding school, they would hopefully be raised in a middle-class family. And so the idea was that they would be fully assimilated, and at no cost to the government," said Margaret Jacobs, author of "A Generation Removed," a book on forced adoption.

The adoption project sold their idea to white families using advertisements asserting that to not adopt would be choosing to leave children with no chance of survival — as in their own families would not be able to provide and care for them so it was up to these white families to help, Jacobs said.

By the 1960s about one in four Native children were living apart from their families. During this era, social workers found more dubious ways of taking children from their mothers.

"One of the things I found that really shocked me was a form that the Bureau of Indian Affairs developed. It was called 'authorization for discharge of an infant,' something like to a person who's not a family member. So it doesn't say authorization to adopt, or anything like that. It says nothing about losing one's child, or giving up rights to one's child, or putting a child up for adoption," Jacobs said. "It's all this sort of legalistic language that I didn't understand either when I was reading it."

Many of these adopted children, now adults, struggle with memories from traumatic childhoods in abusive homes, while trying to figure out where they fit in as Natives in white communities. Olson followed a few of these people's stories in "Stolen Childhoods."

The documentary was produced at KFAI by Melissa Olson and Ryan Katz and edited by Todd Melby.
To listen to the documentary, click the link above.

Every. Day.

Every. Day.
adoptees take back adoption narrative and reject propaganda

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

Three Years already

Join!

National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (NISCWN)

Membership Application Form

The Network is open to all Indigenous and Foster Care Survivors any time.

The procedure is simple: Just fill out the form HERE.

Source Link: NICWSN Membership

Customer Review

Thought-provoking and moving 11 October 2012
Two Worlds - Lost children of the Indian Adoption Projects

If you thought that ethnic cleansing was something for the history books, think again. This work tells the stories of Native American Indian adoptees "The Lost Birds" who continue to suffer the effects of successive US and Canadian government policies on adoption; policies that were in force as recently as the 1970's. Many of the contributors still bear the scars of their separation from their ancestral roots. What becomes apparent to the reader is the reality of a racial memory that lives in the DNA of adoptees and calls to them from the past.
The editors have let the contributors tell their own stories of their childhood and search for their blood relatives, allowing the reader to gain a true impression of their personalities. What becomes apparent is that nothing is straightforward; re-assimilation brings its own cultural and emotional problems. Not all of the stories are harrowing or sad; there are a number of heart-warming successes, and not all placements amongst white families had negative consequences. But with whom should the ultimate decision of adoption reside? Government authorities or the Indian people themselves? Read Two Worlds and decide for yourself.

Read this SERIES

Read this SERIES
click image

ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

Our Fault? (no)

Leland at Goldwater Protest

#defendicwa

A photo posted by defendicwa (@defendicwa) on